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Streets ahead! Greenwich bucks waste complaints national trend

Cleaner streets, faster response times and a more efficient in-house service; these are just some of the recent successes achieved by the Royal Borough’s Street Services team.  

A report by the Local Government Ombudsman has found councils across the country are facing mounting complaints on both the frequency of waste collections and the number of missed bin collections.* 

The same report found that in some cases, the contracting out of core services was to blame for poor customer service and increased complaints. 

The Royal Borough is bucking this national trend by running an enhanced service with weekly collections and in-house street cleaning teams who can rapidly respond to the needs of residents. As a result, only two complaints were referred to the Ombudsman in the last year.  

There have been three major improvements since April: 

1.   Household waste collection: more front line staff have been employed to scrutinise weekly collections. Increased use of weekly monitoring sheets have ensured that only 0.073% of collections are missed in an average month. 

2.   Tackling fly-tipping: The Royal Borough has proactively removed 5,691 fly-tips and 1,800 reported fly-tips. We have maintained a zero-tolerance approach to fly-tipping and received recognition by London Councils for being one of the first local authorities to commit to the £400 Fixed Penalty Notice.

3.   Street cleaning: The Royal Borough began an intensive jet-washing of Plumstead High Street in July to remove chewing gum and other forms of engrained dirt. Timetabled use of jet-washers is being planned so that all town centres in the Royal Borough are deep-cleaned at least once a year. 

Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich Councillor Denise Hyland said, 

“We’re working hard to deliver cleaner streets and run a greener, more efficient service for our residents. From our pro-active anti fly-tipping campaign to the jet-washing of Plumstead High Street, we’re making sure that our Street Services are the very best they can be.” 

Cabinet Member for Community Safety & Environment Councillor Jackie Smith added,

“Under constrained resources, local authorities across the country are facing increased complaints and are often running outsourced, reduced, fortnightly collections. We have bucked this national trend here in Greenwich and want to continue improving the in-house services we offer. We want to shift our service into overdrive over the coming months with more electric vehicles in our fleet, increased use of jet-washers for our High Streets and more efficient waste collection.”